As the Ministry of Health is in high gear to curb down Measles epidemic in the country especially in Districts of Hoima and Mbale where there were reported cases of measles outbreak,Parents have been advised to ensure that they take their children to get full dose of Immunization.
While conducting a media sensitization campaign,Dr, Opala Bernard the Program manager UNEPI revealed that a parent who acts contrary is liable to three months imprisonment as stated in the immunisation Act.
Opala pointed out that the same act restricts parents from taking children to school without presenting immunisation certificates and that whoever does it, is punishable by the law
“We call upon the media to assist us in sensitizing the public on the importance of immunisation because in the past we had eradicated measles to the extent that the measles ward in Mulago had been closed down and only aged people could explain the signs and symptoms of this disease,” said Opala.
Dr Anne Akullo the Coordinator of the immunisation program in the Uganda Pediatric Association (UPA), a professional body which brings together all Pediatrics in the country, pointed out that having spent some time providing technical advice to the immunization program, they have decided to engage directly in the program to ensure that children grow up healthy and fulfill their goals.
“Currently Uganda still falls below the immunisation targets but with combined efforts we want within a few months to fulfill the set targets or even beyond,” said Akullo.
According to 2016 National Immunization coverage results, immunisation against Tuberculosis target was 90% but 96% was covered, for Diphtheria and Hepatitis B the target was 90% but 79% was covered, for Polio the target was 90% where only 66% was reached and for measles vaccine the target was 90% but 80% was achieved.
This is as a result that most parents access most of the vaccination at birth and as the period Continues many don’t finish the cycle which leads to vulnerability in their children.
In this workshop that attracted media practitioners from various media houses country wide, journalists were asked to ensure accurate reporting on immunisation activities, detect and double check with the Ministry of health on information regarding immunisation before it’s published.
The Media practitioners were also asked to circulate immunization messages, detect and report disease outbreak for an immediate action and demystify rumors and myths surrounding the immunization program.